We moved more than a month ago, and yet we still don’t seem to have our groove back. School is getting done, but I feel as if I’m scrambling to catch up. We’re plugging through our skill subjects (math, writing, spelling) daily, but sometimes that’s all we can manage. Even favorite subjects like nature study and history aren’t getting squeezed in reliably, and I’m not finding that I have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for planning. (Or blogging, as you may have noticed. I haven’t posted in so long that my sister called to see if I was all right.)
It’s time to make some changes.
For a while now, I’ve been feeling done with Five in a Row. I still completely love the FIAR model, but lately I’ve been itching to try something different. It may be that after 47 FIAR and FIAR-style books, we’re simply ready for a change, or it may be that we’ve used up all the books I couldn’t wait to study and have moved on to ones that don’t excite me as much. It may be that Alex is maturing and is ready for more sustained depth. I don’t know exactly what it is – I just know that I’ve felt ready to move on.
We do have FIAR Volume 4, which is a set of more in-depth,two-week picture book studies aimed at children aged 7-8. My original plan had been to start Vol. 4 after Christmas, mixing in some of the remaining one-week FIAR books we hadn’t gotten to yet, and to let that carry us through the summer of 2012. Recently, though, that plan hasn’t had much appeal.
This past weekend, while we were traveling for a family wedding, I read through Vol. 4, picked out lessons, mentally sketched out some field trips, and found myself getting excited about FIAR again. There are some great lessons in that book. We’d be studying deserts, cowboys, trains, snow, birds, sailing, haiku, Australia. It would be more in-depth and open-ended. We were back on track!
Until dinner tonight, when Alex begged and pleaded to study chemistry. She’s been asking for a while, actually, and complaining with some justification that Five in a Row doesn’t have enough science. Chemistry, in particular, has somehow really captured her imagination.
If we’re not homeschooling so that Alex can follow her intellectual passions, then why are we homeschooling?
So I junked my plans. All my plans, even the ones for fall of 2012, when I planned to start earth and space science. Instead, we’ll be starting R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey – Chemistry in January. Alex is tremendously excited.
But we can’t do an intensive lab science, history, math, spelling, writing, Latin, and a more in-depth and research-inclusive Five in a Row. Not to mention the nature study and religious education we’re trying to fit in, or, you know, some amount of time and attention focused on Colin. There simply isn’t enough time. (Maybe if I were home full time, but that isn’t going to happen.) At least, we can’t do it all at once.
Our new current plan is that beginning in January we’ll study history and science for a three-week block and then take a week or two to focus on a FIAR Vol. 4 book. We’ll keep that cycle that until we feel ready to drop FIAR, which may be in the spring or may be a year from now.
I confess that it’s hard for me to be this flexible. It feels wrong somehow to not complete all of Five in a Row – especially because it is such a great curriculum which has been rewarding for all of us. Then I remind myself that we’re homeschooling, not out of an allegiance to a particular curriculum or approach, but out of a desire to give Alex the education that’s right for her. And right now… that means a change.